On the 28,05,2023 Irish duo The Remedy Club an Americana/ Roots duo from Co Wexford launched the latest album Back to You at The Workmans Club Dublin and before the show Abigael Paquet got to sit down for a chat.
Words & photos Abigael Paquet:
Aileen: Yeah, well, my name is Aileen Mythen and I am a singer – one half of the Remedy Club. And I guess, the best way of describing the Remedy Club is we are an Americana roots based duo. However, tonight we’re gonna have a full seven piece band. So, that’s a completely different sound for us tonight. We would love to have a band so much fun, but generally it’s just the two of us – Simply because we can’t afford to bring musicians on the road with us – and we’re based in Wexford.
There’s a lot of American influences there and KJ lived in New York for eight years.
Abby: How would you convince people to listen to your music ?
Aileen: Well, I don’t know if I can convince anybody or nor would I want to convince anybody. There’s nothing much you can do really. I think for me the key … or certainly what’s important to me, is playing and writing songs that are just authentically our sound and something that moves us. That has to be the only reason. And then obviously, when people connect with it, it is just an incredible thing. But there’s no way of deciding that before; you can’t force people into listening to certain types and you can’t force that connection. It’s a very natural thing really, isn’t it ? So you just got to keep doing what you love doing and being truthful to your sound and hoping that some people connect with it because that’s what it’s all about.
Abby: Yeah, that’s a good answer, I like it. And what can people expect from your shows?
Aileen: Well, tonight they can expect a very rock and roll gig tonight with a seven piece band. We have everything from keys, bass, drums, electric guitar to pedal steel, the whole works tonight. So, we’re going all out because it’s obviously our album launch. Generally, we gig as a two piece and sometimes a three piece with pedal steel.
So even though Kieran is the only person playing an instrument on the stage, it’s still very big. A lot of people have commented that it is a very big sounding show, so that’s always a surprise.
We do a lot of harmonies and it’s one guitar and I play percussion. And that’s simply it when it’s a two piece. Completely different sound.
Abby: And so, your new album just released on Friday, how are you feeling about it ? Did you get feedback ?
Aileen: The reviews? Yeah, we’ve had a couple of, I think two or three reviews. Two that I’ve read. And I haven’t actually got around to reading anything else because it’s been crazy but they’ve been extremely positive. So, of course that’s always nice because it feels very lonely when you’re releasing something. So, it’s always lovely to get that positive feedback. So, we’re kind of waiting for a few more of those to come in and to get feedback from our audience that’s kind of seeping in a little bit where some people are picking their favourite songs from the album. And that’s always really interesting because it’s different for everybody. And lots of radio play, particularly in the UK. Actually, we were number six in the Boom Radio charts, which is a big radio station in the UK. And that was an amazing thing for us. So, we just try and encourage DJs to play the music. It’s been played a little bit here as well. And you’re always so grateful to people who get behind it.
Abby: And how does it compare to your previous work ?
Aileen: Our previous album, we recorded it in Nashville. With the producer, Ray Kennedy, who’s worked with Steve Earl. He’s done most of Steve Earl’s albums, if not all of Steve Earl’s albums. Lucinda Williams, Cheryl Crow, Willie Nelson. So we have been a big fan of his for a long time, and we wanted to work with him on the first album. So, he mixed one of the tracks from that and then he offered to come on board as a producer for the last one. So, we went over to Nashville and actually recorded that entire album in a week.
So, I would say that had definitely that kind of Nashville country rock sound, whereas this one kind of sends us in a slightly different direction, maybe towards Memphis, New Orleans. It’s got brass, it’s got strings, so it’s very upbeat. But there’s a lot of songs that were written in lockdown, so you can hear that, I think, throughout a lot of songs. Some really difficult times, so it was very cathartic being able to write during that time. Initially I was really inspired because it was a great way of releasing all of those emotions that we were all feeling. But then, once that passed – I wrote a lot during Lockdown – there was an absolute block. And, I think we all felt that where we’re realising that this is not just a short term thing, it’s a bigger deal than we had realised. So, that was just not a lot happening there. It’s just like survival of a seven year old. Make sure she’s okay, get out into nature. And then we slowly got back into it again.I did all the cliches: I made banana bread – although I make it all the time. I even tried sourdough. And, I had a thing about sending soap to everybody and little care packages. But like, when I think about it – obviously the thought was nice, I guess – but when I think about it, it was a bit mad because I was even sending banana bread in packages to people that probably didn’t taste too good when it arrived.
Abby: Depends how far, though.Aileen: Yeah, I don’t know how a lot of people would react to that.
Abby: I mean, you needed to wash your hands more at that stage.
Aileen: Yes. The heart was in the right place with it.
Abby: Exactly. So, what’s your favourite song to play live, and why ?
Aileen: Well, you need to ask me that after, because we’ve never played these songs. But even just during the rehearsal roll with it, it’s just such a feel good song, it’s really hard not to be kind of lifted by that for me – at least so far, but I might have a completely different answer after by the end of the show.But also it’ll be lovely just to get people’s feedback and their reaction tonight, and that’ll be really interesting because they might be reacting to songs that we would never have thought might be popular or vice versa. So, it’ll be interesting.
Abby: Is there one that you’re not so fond of ?Aileen: There’s one song that we’re not doing live, but not for any particular reason, only that it had a full, beautiful string quartet. So, it’s really hard to achieve that sound, but it’s also an extremely personal one. And I kind of feel like I’ve moved on from that situation now, so from that sense, I’m not missing you. I’m not going to be sad that I’m not performing that tonight.
And that’s interesting because I was going through something very personal at that stage, and I’ve passed through that now. Not that I wouldn’t return back to it, because a song, when you sing, it has different meanings every time. But I’m okay with not performing it.
Abby: Is there questions that you wish journalists would ask you during interviews but never do or rarely do, or a topic that you’d like them to talk about with you ?
Aileen: Not really. I mean, other than and I think every musician in the country would say just to try and it’s a team effort, really, isn’t it ? To try and get more support for original music, whether that’s putting in the right venues, because we kind of are limited in Ireland here, really, as well. Like, you do a circuit and then that tour is finished and there’s not a lot of places to play. And also from radio, I mean, of course there’s some incredible DJs that have been so supportive with us – particularly, I’d have to say – a lot of regional and or to eRADIO one. But it would be just fantastic to get a little bit more support mainstream because I know so many talented musicians and songwriters and they’re really top class in this country, but I’m not hearing them on the radio, and I don’t for the life of me understand why. And I know that a lot of stuff is supported in different countries, but I wish we were more confident in backing our own artists here. So I think that always needs just to be emphasized because someday it’s got to change because this model is just not sustainable.
Abby: And what was your worst moment on stage?
Aileen: Oh, gosh, I did get sick, actually, on stage. I think I was on a boat. I was on a boat and it was particularly bad and stormy. And I did get sick. I couldn’t leave because there was no Elvis away from the audience, so I just discreetly found a container and literally got sick. And I think the same thing happened to my mother, actually. She was a singer.
Abby: Oh, was she ? Like mother, like daughter ! And what would your dream venue, city or country to play live be ?
Aileen: That’s another good question. I loved playing France. And I know you’re French, I’m not just saying that. That completely seems like I’m just saying that for you. But that festival in Paris was amazing. We brought a load of CDs and we sold out. And I learned a lesson to always bring way more than you should, if you’re only going to sell one CD.
I loved playing France. I would definitely like to play a lot more in Europe. We did a tour in Germany and it was pretty intense. It was very rock and roll. I slept on the floor. I’d like to go back to Germany and maybe sleep in a bed. That would be so luxurious. But I love playing Ireland. I love playing the UK, as does Kieran. So, just to continue, it doesn’t really matter where it is, as long as we get a good audience. And that’s it, really.
Abby: So, an audience and a bed.
Aileen: That’s all I want: a listening audience and a bed.
Abby: Fair enough. Now, what else are you passionate about besides music ?
Aileen: I am an actress. So, I absolutely love theater. I don’t go to theater, actually. I used to do a lot more of theater and going to see plays … so yeah, theater definitely would be one of my passions. And acting in general and film. It’s another outlet, I suppose, to be creative. And I’m a vegetarian. I don’t know if I’m passionate about that. I think each to their own, but for me, I’m just relieved I don’t have to eat meat. Passionate about food. And I like cooking. Passionate about pretty much everything during Covid but I don’t have time, except for just functioning and getting this album out and looking after a seven year old.
Abby: Last question. What is the most useless talent that you have ?
Aileen: Useless talent? Gosh, they’re all pretty useful, aren’t they ? No, what talents do I have … ? Well, it can be pretty useful, but I always know what somebody wants to order from the menu, literally every single time – particularly my husband. I just know exactly what he’s in the mood for, whether it’s a chowder or a chicken dish, and that tends to feed into other people. Now, I kind of tend to know what somebody feels like eating an order from the menu, so I don’t think that’s very useful, because they’re probably just going to go with their own choice.